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Those who believe women don't want commitment ought to be committed

January 18, 2007|by TIM ROWLAND

Commentary

Under normal circumstances, I find Census data to be about as interesting as construction scaffolding. Not that my sympathies don't rest with the percentage of Aleutian Eskimos living in one-bedroom apartments, but numbers to me have always been kind of dry.

However, there are some Census figures that just came out that I believe must be addressed with some sense of joy or alarm - I just haven't figured out which.

For the first time ever, a majority of women, 51 percent, are living without a husband.

Not to be harsh about this, but statistical discussions demand total accuracy, and in the case of perhaps 15 percent of these women it's pretty easy to figure out WHY they are living without a husband.

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But even factoring them out, that's still a pretty hefty percentage who are simply saying of their own volition, "I don't."

According to a New York Times report that quoted a number of living-alone women, you get the sense that chicks these days are viewing men rather like you would the newly announced iPhone.

At first blush you gotta have it, but then you start reflecting about the initial expense, the maintenance fees, unimpressive battery life and how often you are actually going to need a real-time download of restaurants in Cleveland and you wind up concluding that it's a nice thought, but it may not be worth the costs.

And when it comes to marriage, a lot of women clearly are in the one-and-done camp. They've been there, done that and have little interest in revisiting the scene of the train wreck.

Sadly, the only way for us men to view this is that we are a disappointing lot. After five years, women are junking us and not even bothering to go back for a new model. So you figure, their experiences with the species must be pretty grim.

And I'm afraid I can't put up much of a defense. She's silently looking at you across the dinner table and you're sitting there in your underpants picking your ear with your fork and flipping channels on the remote because you have strategically placed the television so it can be seen from the dining room - and if you say anything to her at all, it's likely to be something like, "Honey, can you scratch underneath my ankle bracelet?"

She's not saying anything as you reach for your fifth beer, but to herself she is thinking those four little words so common to all committed relationships: "This, I don't need."

No doubt, however, a lot of guys will be cautiously optimistic about the news that more females are opting for independence.

Isn't this what we've wanted all along? As far as relationships go, you take the "C" word out of the equation and what's not to like? Commitment has always been the one thing that has sent us running like we're being chased by a mad scientist with a swab full of Ebola.

Now, like Garbo, women want to be alone. So there you have it, the potential for a nice, tidy emotionally ho-hum relationship that offers plenty of free time to watch the game.

Or so you think.

I hate to be a spoilsport on this, but let's hold off on the high-fives, guys. I sense a trap.

I come from the Ronald Reagan school of trust, but verify. And I am fully prepared to believe a woman when she says she prefers independence. Until she decides she does not prefer independence, which can run on the estimated turnaround time of about .03 seconds.

This is a greased wind vane on Teflon ball bearings, if ever there was. You may be hearing something like, "I absolutely, positively do not want a man in my li ... OK, you'll do."

So just be careful, is all. Maybe they're being honest about this situation, and then again maybe they ain't. Don't be lulled into a false sense of security about today's modern, independent woman only to have the cold steel of a chapel trap snap shut around your commitment finger.

On the other hand, if this is all true and a majority of women really do not want to have anything to do with us, we had better urgently shop around now for a girl who still does, before the available female inventory starts looking like a Miami plywood aisle the day before the hurricane.

It's a fine line, and being innately clueless about relationships, we are woefully unprepared to deal with it gracefully. After all, "I want my space" was always supposed to be the guy's line.

Tim Rowland is a Herald-Mail columnist. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 2324 or via e-mail at timr@herald-mail.com. You can listen to his podcast, The Rowland Rant, on www.antpod.com.

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